January 5, 2020

Stillness Is the Key- Reflections on Ryan Holiday’s Book

Stillness Is The Key is the title of an excellent book by Ryan Holiday. This quote is an example of the deceptively simple wisdom contained in it: The world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearances, and if we are patient and still, the truth will be revealed to us. Holiday, Ryan. Stillness Is the Key (p. 47). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. I say deceptively simple because the author’s words sound almost banal…if we are patient and still…the too simple words make it sound easily […]
December 29, 2019

Wonder: It’s Essential Place in Our Hearts

Wonder: It’s essential place in our hearts There was a time when I had this memorized, the words represented truth to my 20 something atheist’s heart, immersed and lost in the sea of the thoughts of others. Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. […]
December 22, 2019

She Was Found With Child

Mary was found with child Now the generation of Christ was in this way. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of […]
December 15, 2019

What Should We Do?

“What should we do? John the Baptist said to them in reply,“Whoever has two cloaksshould share with the person who has none.And whoever has food should do likewise…. Now the people were filled with expectation,and all were asking in their heartswhether John might be the Christ.John answered them all, saying,“I am baptizing you with water,but one mightier than I is coming…” Discriminating among all the conflicting voices clamoring in our ears and competing for our attention is almost impossible. Politicians and newscasters claim unique access to the truth while expressing opinions which sound distressingly similar to one another. In an […]
December 8, 2019

The Shaking Reality of Advent

The shaking reality of Advent Amidst the Hallmark Christmas movies, red bows, tinsel, parties, Christmas music and ubiquitous political clamor, lurks a presence. A whisper deep in our hearts, in our psyches and in our souls. The phrase “the shaking reality of Advent” is not mine, but belongs to Jesuit Priest and martyr, Alfred Delp. A man who chose not to close his eyes to the growing evil around him, Father Delp was the Rector of St. Georg Church in Munich and an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime. Falsely accused of conspiring against Hitler, Fr. Delp was arrested in […]
December 1, 2019

The Civil War and Thanksgiving

The Civil War and Thanksgiving The history of this quintessentially American holiday provokes and challenges each year when I take time to ponder this oxymoron: The civil war and thanksgiving. Can anyone think of a less opportune time to declare a national holiday than in the middle of a war? Specifically a war between Americans? A war with twice the number of total US deaths than in the Vietnam war? Over 40% of the population? And yet, that is precisely what President Abraham Lincoln did. His words are sobering, even awe inspiring: October 3, 1863 By the President of the […]
November 24, 2019

Feast of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King is my favorite Feast day of the Christian liturgy. Why? We live in a culture which is saturated with hero worship. Whether an athlete, movie star or a comic book character come to life in a film, the list of potential men and women to adore is a lengthy one. In a post a few years ago, I wrote, We have all spent time doing it: Looking for heroes in all the wrong places. Our movies and music reflect and sometimes magnify that desire to find someone who is an authentic hero. While watching […]
November 17, 2019

Can we handle freedom?

The question, “can we handle freedom?”, is not mine. Instead, it is taken from a quite remarkable speech by the current Attorney General William Barr given at Notre Dame Law School last month. While reading the speech the first time, I found it eloquent, stirring and an insightful description of America in 2019. And overlooked the import of the question. But no more. I have reread Barr’s speech six times because of the uproar it has caused among a variety of savants. Each time I did so, I became even more astounded by the virulence of the hyperbole among the […]
November 10, 2019

November: The Month of the Dead

November: The Month of the Dead Each of the first eight days of November, my husband John and I find a local cemetery and then walk through the tombstones while saying prayers for those who are buried there. Morbid? Bizarre? Or practical? Whether we know it or not, we are all-immortal souls- headed somewhere after we die.  I had never thought of the souls in Purgatory as my brothers and sisters until we happened to be in Half Moon Bay during the first week of November a few years ago. One of the 3 priests there at the Catholic Church […]
November 3, 2019

Leave, Herod Wants to Kill You-Constipated Grace

Leave, Herod wants to kill you. In the Christian liturgy for the thirty-first of October, some of the Pharisees approach Jesus to tell him to leave Jerusalem …”Leave, Herod wants to kill you.” “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’ “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times […]
October 27, 2019

Saul- A Man For Our Times

Saul- a man for our times Around mid-day yesterday, I finished the first iteration of my newest novel, My Name is Saul. When I got to ‘Acknowledgements and Author’s notes, I short-handed my comments and merely wrote that if I began to write honestly about how it felt to insinuate myself into this man, I would never stop writing and went ahead to send to my four readers. The first step in the long process of publishing the book. And then sat there wondering what to do with myself for the remainder of the day. I have learned not to […]
October 20, 2019

My Name is Saul- Very Close

My Name is Saul- Very Close My name is Saul-Very Close… I know, close but no cigar, right? Just in case you would like to know the origin of that phrase…here. So why write about it when the first draft of the manuscript is not done? Because I am close…really close! And that fact is worthy of saying so. More than that…saying so is too tame. I am jubilant! This story has been alternately exciting, supremely challenging, frustrating, maddening…I could go on, but you get the idea. But a few months ago, this contradictory, complicated, mysterious, paradox of a man […]
October 13, 2019

Not A Hair On Your Head

Not a hair on your head was originally written in late 2013. I am reposting it for two reasons: It feels eerily even more relevant in October, 2019 as a beleaguered Israel prepares for war without global support of any kind; the United Nation’s attention on Israel is confined to absurdities and the US continues the endless attempts to bring down the President. Secondly because My Name is Saul is demanding all of my energy as I work to meet my deadline. Here is the post from November 2013: A couple of weeks ago while still in Half Moon Bay, […]
October 6, 2019

Sanity: Stillness, Addiction and Love

Wondering how stillness, addiction and love relate to sanity? Had two distinctly books not fallen into my lap I would never have made the correlation or even wondered about sanity: stillness, addiction and love. The two books? The Love That Keeps Us Sane: Living the Little Way of St. Therese of Lesieux written by sixty-something- year- old Discalced Carmelite Priest, Father Marc Foley,and Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday, a thirty- something media strategist. I read Ryan Holiday’s blog posts because he writes about the stoics. Marc Aurelius, Seneca, and some of the lesser known ancient Greek men who […]
September 29, 2019

2 New Lin Wilder Author Interviews

2 new Lin Wilder interviews? Each of the last five years this time, late September, finds me working to finish a book. This one is no different from the previous years; I am pushing hard to complete the 1st iteration of My Name is Saul. Forcing my writing to be extremely focused on Saul instead of new content for the blog. Therefore, this Sunday article consists of re-posting 2 new Lin Wilder author interviews, both originally published during September. The first was published in Literary Titan early this month. This first interview served as the catalyst for the second. Author […]
September 22, 2019

The Contradictions Of Sin And Mercy

Contradictions of sin and mercy There are times when an essay from the past feels fitting. This is one of those times. Mostly because there is one man who better understands the contradictions of sin and mercy better than any other: Karol Wojtyla. His first published work was a series of meditations prepared at the request of the then Pope Paul VI for the 1976 Lenten Retreat of the Pope and his staff. The then Cardinal called his book, The Sign of Contradiction. I first wrote these words was in April of 2014. In some ways, that feels like a […]
September 15, 2019

The Woman With The Alabaster Jar And The Pharisee: Surprised by Grace

Surprised by Grace Now and then, I am surprised by grace; that phrase is used a lot by Christian writers weakly attempting to convey what Paul describes as living and active and sharper than a two edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit. Because it’s always much more than surprise…more like a blow to my psyche. I have read and or heard preached the Gospel passage in Luke, where Christ is invited to dine at the home of the Pharisee and is interrupted by the woman with the alabaster jar who stands behind the Lord […]
September 8, 2019

Overcomer: A New Kendricks Brothers Movie

When I learned that Overcomer was a new Kendricks Brothers movie, I resolved to see it. This is true for four reasons. Four years ago, a movie with the title, War Room, was irresistibly evocative to me… Prayer as war: the correlation of combat with happiness has long been one which applies to my life. Therefore, a movie about prayer and war was one I knew I wanted to see when my sister Lee told me about it. Fitting,  because the spiritual life  is fundamentally a battle. Secondly, I recognized one of the War Room actresses in the trailer. In the […]
September 1, 2019

A Birthday Day Party and Gift of Power: Another Bible Story

A Birthday Party and gift of power: Another Bible Story… Each year, on August 29th, the Christian liturgy celebrates the Feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist. In case a reminder is called for, the Gospel of Mark relates that Herod was the one who arrested John, “on account of Herodias,” his brother’s wife. The Baptizer publicly censured the King and his wife proclaiming that “it was not lawful to have your brother’s wife.” Mark writes that Herodias ‘ harbored a grudge against John and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.’ When I read the […]
August 25, 2019

The Audacity of Writing

The Audacity of Writing. Every once in a while, seemingly disparate, even oxymoronic thoughts become as one: love and writing are like that for me today. There is an audacity necessary to write and to love. Love thy neighbor as you love yourself. Christ’s words are clear in the Gospel passage we hear repeated so often- there are no subtleties here; or are there? Recently, I have been thinking about this frequently repeated command of our Lord and wonder if we have it backward. Take a moment and ponder this seemingly simple and clear statement of Jesus. …’as you love […]
August 18, 2019

Seymour’s Cone: Weapon of Mass Destruction

Seymour’s Cone: Weapon of Mass Destruction “Because of the area of surgery, he needs the cone for the entire fourteen days.” Closing my eyes with inaudible,OH NO!, I said, “Can you imagine him with this thing?” My husband John had started asking just how long we would need to keep this cone on him the second day he wore it…or more accurately, drove it. “I am sure he is a weapon of mass destruction.” The minute the question left my mouth, I realized that the vet, Dr. Jane Nibler, could easily imagine this dog weaponizing this thing as he raced […]
October 19, 2015

Saints as Friends?

Saints as friends? St. Teresa of Avila was one of my very first friends as a brand new Catholic Christian. I felt as if I had landed in another universe, one filled with women I did not recognize and could not relate to. But upon reading the reply by St. Teresa of Avila to Christ’s explanation of the imprisonment and near starvation of her friend St. John of the Cross, “Teresa, whom the Lord loves, he also chastises, this is how I treat all my friends.” The acerbic Spanish nun allegedly replied to Jesus, “No wonder you have so few of […]
October 26, 2015

Justice and Politics

Ideally the concept of justice is considered to be independent of contextual factors like politics. And the notion of correlating the two feels somewhat odious, or at least repugnant. But the recent Speilberg movie, Bridge of Spies, is a fascinating tale of the oxymoronic twists of our government and its desire to appear just. I don’t recall ever thinking that a movie is perfect but Bridge of Spies, based on a true story about the defense of Russian spy Rudolf Abel by James Donovan, is flawless. Beginning with the screenplay by novice Matt Charman, Tom Hanks’ gripping depiction of Donovan through Speilberg’s impeccable […]
March 26, 2017

Conclave- Robert Harris’ New Novel of Power and Intrigue

Conclave is the best of Robert Harris’ novels, high praise because Harris is an excellent writer of historical fiction. Each of his books reveals the writer’s journalistic background: Rich in detail and imagery, Harris’ extensive research for each story is evident. Conclave is all of that but much more. This story is riveting, sympathetic and tender: qualities which are rare in this culture of belligerence and presumption. Most especially when the subject is a societal lightning rod like the Catholic Church. Harris’ characters feel substantial, they take on flesh and bones to the point where the reader can visualize each […]
April 23, 2017

The West Ablaze- With Wildflowers

The west is ablaze. The wildflowers in California are ablaze with wildflowers, not with wildfires but flowers. The blooms along the west coast are so intense they can be seen from space! But the long drought is also over in the nearby high desert of the Pinion mountains of northern Nevada. Around seven on Friday morning, the dogs and I hiked up the mountain trail a few hundred yards behind our home. It had been several weeks since we had last climbed the path. Consequently, the fragrance of the sage, the rarely seen Indian Brush hiding behind the sage were unexpected […]